This week a friend sent me a blog by Holley Gerth entitled “Your Generation Is Needed Here.” It’s a story that contains important Growing Young Together wisdom for those that are older, those in the middle and those that are young. I love the idea that together “we can be a glorious timeline of God’s love.” Enjoy the story below!
"I’m attending a tea party in the Fellowship Hall of a small town church about an hour from my home. This is where my parents had their wedding reception, where my grandparents had their fiftieth anniversary party, where my great-grandparents held hands in the pews.
Today the tables are covered in white linen and each place setting includes a vintage china cup, the kind that tempts you to stick your pinky out when you drink from it." Continue reading...
One of the areas that our church-wide assessment shows that we need to address is called “empathy today.” It is one of the six characteristics that thriving churches are good at, and we want to be good at it too! Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The Growing Young Together team has been working to learn more about how to design opportunities for high students, young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults to create genuine empathetic connections across generations. Empathy joins others in their experience. It is what the old invitation to “walk a mile in my shoes” is all about.
Nurse researcher Theresa Weisman talks about “perspective taking” as one of the important qualities of empathy. Empathy begins with listening. Perspective taking requires the listener to connect with what the other person is experiencing by being brave enough to listen and FEEL what the other person is feeling. It’s not fixing, it’s not telling a story that relates, it’s simply saying something like, “Wow, I didn’t know that’s what you were going through. That is hard.”
The Growing Young Together team is hosting several opportunities to listen to:
1) high school students 2) folks in their 20s 3) folks in their 30s 4) folks 40 and up. Each of these Empathy Talks is designed to hear the perspectives, share the hopes, and feel the fear and frustration with these generations as we grow young together.
Stay tuned for more details - we hope you come and connect!